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Feb. 8, 2005
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, (785) 864-7822.

Hall Center announces Feb. 20 open house to showcase new 'powerhouse' home

LAWRENCE --The Hall Center for the Humanities will share its new space with the University of Kansas community and the public during an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20. Hall Center staff will be available to answer questions, said Victor Bailey, Hall Center director.

The new building, located directly east of the Dole Human Development Center on Sunnyside Avenue on KU's Lawrence campus, celebrates the humanities and incorporates elements of KU's oldest surviving structure, the 1887 Powerhouse.

The new two-story building has approximately 14,700 square feet of space and includes a 120-seat conference room, a seminar room, and offices for staff and research fellows.

The Hall Center's design uses and preserves stone arches from the south facade of the Powerhouse.

According to University Architect Warren Corman, John Haskell's design for the Powerhouse was influenced strongly by a Romanesque building that still stands in Oviedo, Spain. The Royal Palace of Ramiro I was built in 848 and was converted into a church, Santa Maria de Naranco, in the 13th century.

Haskell designed five buildings at KU, of which Bailey Hall (1900) is the only complete, surviving example.

The Powerhouse was struck by lightning in 1898. The resulting fire severely damaged the building, which was constructed of Oread limestone quarried on site. A portion of the building was repaired but, over the years, subsequent modifications and deterioration largely obliterated Haskell's original design.

The structure had been used for many years as a Facilities Operations storage building.

The new building is the result of a $4.07 million gift to the KU Endowment Association from the Hall Family Foundation, $1.89 million in state funds and $260,000 in private donations.

The formal dedication for the center will take place on April 9.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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